Time to find the best science for measuring methane: Cattle Council

Beef Central, 03/06/2020

CATTLE Council of Australia (CCA) is calling for a full scientific assessment of modeling used to calculate the impact of beef on climate change and the alternative Global Warming Potential (GWP) model.

CCA President Tony Hegarty said with the broader red meat industry committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, it is important to use the best available science to measure the impact of cattle-produced methane.

“We have a responsibility to make sure we use the best available science in our response to climate change,” Mr Hegarty said.

“We are asking the scientists who have the expertise to assess both models and tell us which is more accurate.

“Any scientific assessment undertaken by government should consider both models and we stand ready to take that scientific advice.

“The current GWP100 model pegs the impact of methane against carbon dioxide and averages it out over 100 years.

“It is well-established that carbon-dioxide emissions can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. By contrast, methane emissions are entirely depleted by year 12.

“The alternative GWP* model measures the impact of our current emissions and subtracts the impact of methane that has since broken down.

“Where the impact of cattle is concerned, GWP* could provide a more accurate approximation of the actual warming that would be created by methane over its lifetime.


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“Carbon in methane is also sequestered from the atmosphere through pasture production in the first place.

“The grassfed beef industry is committed to doing its fair share when it comes to addressing climate change.

“In managing more than 79 percent of Australia’s agricultural land, beef producers understand they will play a key role in the solutions to decarbonise the economy, while feeding the nation and helping feed the world.

‘It is only fair for our sector to ask if our carbon bill has been added up correctly’

“Our stewardship gives us the opportunity to work with government and the wider community to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“It is vitally important that the best scientific information and tools available are being used to inform domestic and global policies, and ensure our resources are put to work in the most effective manner.

“It is only fair for our sector to ask if our carbon bill has been added up correctly.”

Source: Cattle Council of Australia


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  1. Joanne Rea, 04/06/2020

    Stop wasting our money.
    What we need is acknowledgement that the methane cloud is stable and a cow does not emit methane without it first being captured in the plant material she eats and is an entirely closed system.
    All that has been counted for livestock production is emissions and not sinks.
    Measuring methane is yet another scientific bear trap that agriculture constantly keeps finding itself in.
    Stay out of this one.

  2. Paul Franks, 03/06/2020

    I am curious when did producers vote to decide to become carbon neutral by 2030? I seem to have missed it.

    Perhaps the first thing we should do is actually ask producers if they want to become carbon neutral by 2030, which would include all of what they have to do to achieve that so they can make an informed decision.

    • Joanne Rea, 04/06/2020

      @Paul Franks @Val Dyer I agree with both of you. Agriculture has already borne the major part of the pain of emissions reduction.

    • Val Dyer, 03/06/2020

      Good question.
      How can Cattle Council contact levy payers to seek their input when it is not provided with contact details of those who pay the transaction levy?


      This is an urgent issue

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